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Literally, teaching. Though originally Torah may have applied only to the Ten Commandments and later to the Pentateuch, it was from an early period employed as a general term to cover all Jewish law, including the vast mass of teachings recorded in the Talmud and other rabbinical works. This latter literature was called Oral Torah, or Tradition, as opposed to Written Torah, or Written Law. To the pious Jew, both Torahs are sacred and inviolable. The Torah guided God in the creation of the world, says the Talmud, and if people were not to observe it, the universe would cease to exist.

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